Jesse Moorman, Application for Coordinating Committee


Name - Jesse Moorman
City - Los Angeles
County - Los Angeles

I am hereby applying for membership on the Coordinating Committee of the California Green Party.

Much of what I present below is directly from my 2013 application for CC membership. Where I make substantial change or addition, I will note it.
In 1966 I realized that the political and economic system we have could not be sustained, and that the failure of those systems was likely to be catastrophic. On the other hand, I could not see any political movement that could achieve the necessary changes. It seemed that it was not possible to avoid a cascade of catastrophic failures. I misjudged the strength of the system, the economy continued for decades on its reckless course, and we did not meanwhile die in nuclear annihilation.
In the 1980s, when I  learned about the Green movement and the initial success of the German Green Party, I began to have hope for the change that was needed. So I organized a Green group in my Los Angeles neighborhood. After 2 or 3 years of having a Green movement, some of the members across the state felt that it was time for a political party. A substantial part of the movement clearly did not want a political party, but we who did were free to try to form one. Thus we had a statewide meeting (somewhere like Fresno) and decided to take the step to organize a party. We were the Green Party Organizing Committee.
I was one of the very first persons to register as a member of the California Green Party early in 1990. I was very active in all aspects of the Green Party Organizing Committee, and I was on the original GPOC Coordinating Committee, and was on the Los Angeles County Council for its first few years. I may have remained on the Coordinating Committee after we got ballot status, but I don't exactly remember, because I ran for Congress in the former 27th District of California -- Pasadena, Burbank and Glendale, and I could not have continued effective work on the CC. In that election I got 5% of the vote, 11,003 votes, and quite an education about the electoral system.
I remained active in the Green Party, mainly on the county level, for a while after the 1992 election, but I could not continue the intense involvement that I had for a few years. Since 1993 or 1994 I have had only occasional involvement with GP work, such as during Nader's 1996 campaign. For some years I had no contact at all with the Party.
In December 2011 I attended the General Assembly in Los Angeles, and, partly because the election was coming up, I again felt somewhat energized to be involved with the Party.
I have been on the Coordinating Committee again since June 2013. My term expires in June 2015.
This is what I wrote in my 2013 application:
I want to help develop strategies that can sustain and empower the party. The Green Party in the United States has been an institution that challenges its activists psychologically. Even though we have been so badly marginalized, for so long, by such misguided interests, we know that we are right and that we must keep our ideas and values in the public consciousness. We are involved in asymmetrical warfare for the public mind, and we should try to make it feel rewarding and invigorating, perhaps interesting and fun, while we prepare for the time that we can make the necessary political changes. And, at that fateful hour, we will need to have enough capable and trustworthy people to take responsibility; we should know them and work with them before the changes take place.
This is what I add today:
The Green Party, as distinct from the green movement (which is vast and somewhat thriving) is conceived as a vehicle for contesting partisan elections. This basic idea is in tension with practical strategy. After Prop.14, contesting elections, where we have no chance of winning, usually has little value, and, I believe, weakens the Green Party.
The Green Party is valuable to the public only as a well-defined and tested organization that stands ready and able to run credible candidates when the time is ready. The green citizens should register Green simply to keep our ballot status. They will not register Green if they know that we are only going to mess up important political choices that they must make.
We need large numbers of people to register Green, because they like our values and they want to keep our ballot status, but they don't have to worry about embarrassment for their party's counter-productive political contests. It is a win/win situation. In this way, the public keeps a valuable institution alive, and the Green Party gets a great membership base to educate and organize.
If I renew my membership on the Coordinating Committee, I will see if I can use the position to promote good will toward the Green Party among the self-perceived green citizens who, using basic common sense, understand that Green Party politics is irrelevant, under present circumstances, to what they want from partisan elections.
I recognize several issues with such a restrained political strategy and expansive organizing strategy.
For a first example, we might not have the foresight to know when an election cycle will present the opportunity for partisan political success. We might miss some golden opportunity. However, under Prop 14, there is only a short time between filing and primary, so awesome foresight is not required.
Second, some ardent Green Party members may feel offended if they find additional impediments to contesting elections. But this is a time when we need to impose some strategic discipline, for the good of the Green Party, for the good of the public and the good of the world. People who feel offended by wise discipline would probably not be good candidates. As I said two years ago, we "need to have enough capable and trustworthy people to take responsibility" and be ready to run in partisan races where there is real opportunity. We are not cultivating many such people in our GP membership. The wise greens are spending their time as productively as they can, not wasting it on the Green Party. We need to reconnect with that wisdom and talent, and have a bond of good will and understanding.
I suppose I could go on and on, but both you and I are weary, by now, of this discussion. I am aware of some severe restrictions on the CC's abilities and activities. I have not so far found membership on the committee to be very useful for promotion of political organizing and strategizing. I do not have great hopes for change, but I continue to think that the Green Party must be kept alive in these dreadful political times. Thus I may be willing to serve another term.
Jesse Moorman